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LIBRARY  OF  CONGRESS. 

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UNITED  STATES  OF  AMERICA. 


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"LABOR    MUCH — SPEAK    LITTLE." 

"  We  are  only  worth  the  price  at  which  God  values  us,  for  it 
His  Judgment  which  alone  can  decide  between  real  and 
counterfeit  virtue."— St.  John  Berchmans, 


ST.  JOHN  BERCHMANS,  S.  J. 
Canonized,  January  15th,  1888. 


A  copy   of  the  miraculous  picture  that  escaped  the  flames  in  the 

burning  of  the  Holy  Family  Convent,  March  7,  1889,  and  is 

kept  in  the  same  Convent.    Favors  to  the  number  of  450  of 

all  kinds  are  known  to  have  been  granted  in  the  one 

year,   1890,   in  answer  to  novenas    made  before 

that  miraculous  picture. 


J 

PRAYERS  IN  HONOR 


/ST.  JOHN  BERCHMANS, 

\ 


PRECEEDED    BY 


A  SHORT  SKETCH  OF  HIS  LIFE, 


AND    A   BRIEF    ACCOUNT    OF    SOME    OF 


HIS    MANY    MIRACLES. 


FOR    THE    BENEFIT    OF 

A  CATHOLIC  ORPHAN  ASYLUM 

AND 

A  CATHOLIC  SCHOO 


CONVENT  OF  THE    HOLY  FAMILY. 
17   ORLEANS  STREET, 

NEW  ORLEANS.   I8i9l. 


fZ^C^ 


^fS 


Thb  Ijbeart 
OP  Cqhgrihri 

WASmMGIOII 


fFRANCISCUS  JANSSENS, 

Archiepiscopus   Neo-Aurelianensts, 
Die  18  Jan.   Festo  SS.  Nominis  Jesu. 
1891. 


(All  Copyright  Reserved.) 


A  SHORT  SKETCH  OF  THE  LIFE 

OF 

ST.  JOHN    BERCHMANS,  S.  J. 

AND    A    BRIEF    ACCOUNT    OF 

SOME  OF  HIS   MANY  MIRACLES. 


St.  John  Berchmans,  Student  and  Con- 
fessor of  the  Society  of  Jesus,  born  at 
Diest,  in  Belgium,  March  13th,  1599,  entered 
the  Society  of  Jesus,  September  24th,  1616, 
and  died  in  Eome,  August  13th,  1621. 

To  those  who  lived  with  him,  he  seemed 
to  be  St.  Aloysius  restored  to  life.  His 
guard  over  his  senses,  command  over  his 
mind  and  actions,  unstained  purity  and 
tender  devotion  to  the  Mother  of  God  made 
him  the  model  of  students. 

Tlxe  secret  of  his  rapid  progress  in  holiness 
was  his  care  in  little  things;  or,  as  he  put 
it,  •'  not  so  much  the  doing  of  great  things, 
as  doing  well  whatever  one  is  told."  In- 
deed, the  essence  of  all  holiness  consists  in 
doing  God^s  will  whenever  it  is  made  known 
to  us. 


He  was  distipguished  most  by  the  cheer- 
fulness of  his  character  aud  the  extraordi- 
nary perfection  with  which  he  performed 
ordinary  actions.  Dying,  he  held  in  his 
hands  his  Crucifix,  Eosary  and  Book  of 
Eules  and  said:  '^ These  three  things  are 
most  dear  to  me — with  these  I  willingly 
die.'-  Gregory  XVI  declared  him  venerable 
in  1843,  Pius  IX  beatified  him  in  1865,  and 
Leo  XIII  canonized  him  in  1888. 

MAXIMS  or  THE  SAINT. 

1st.  I  am  not  secure  unless  I  have  a 
true  and  filial  affection  for  the  Blessed 
Virgin. 

2d.  In  all  things  I  shall  be  opposed  to 
the  spirit  of  the  world. 

3d.  If  I  were  to  aim  at  pleasing  men,  I 
should  not  be  a  servant  of  Christ. 

4th.  Why,  O  my  soul,  wouldst  thou 
take  delight  in  saying  or  doing  that  which 
will  sooner  or  later  be  a  matter  of  reproach 
to  thee ! 

5th.  Nothing  can  be  more  consoling 
during  life  than  to  pass  a  great  part  of  it 
with  Our  Lord,  residing  in  the  Blessed 
Sacrament.  • 


6th.  We  are  only  worth  the  price  at 
which  God  values  us,  for  it  is  His  Judgment 
which  alone  can  decide  between  real  and 
counterfeit  virtue. 

MIBACLES   OF   THE   SAINT. 

The  following  is  a  brief  account  of  a  few 
of  the  many  miracles  wrought  through  the 
intercession  of  St.  John  Berchmans. 

All  these  wonders  have  been  well  authen- 
ticated by  public  documents,  and  many  of 
them  deposed  under  oath,  in  the  various 
processes  of  his  Beatification. 

The  Saint  is  Seen  in  a  Vision. 

Thomas  de  Simone,  a  lay  brother  of  the 
Society  of  Jesus,  while  at  prayer,  on  the 
night  following  the  death  of  St.  John 
Berchmans,  saw  the  heavens  open  and 
beheld  the  Mother  of  God  with  two  celes- 
tial personages— St.  Aloysius  and  St,  John 
Berchmans. 

A  Relic  of  the  Saint  Works  Miracles. 

At  Mantua,  a  lady  named  Margaret 
Eossi,  while  at  prayer,  was  in  a  supernat- 
ural manner  made  aware  of  all  the  circum- 


6 

stances  that  followed  the  death  of  St.  John 
Berchmans,  and  of  the  many  wonderful 
favors  obtained  by  his  intercession.  Hav- 
ing obtained  a  relic  of  the  Saint,  she  work- 
ed many  miracles  by  means  of  it. 

St.  John  Berchmans  equal  to  St.  Aloysius  in 
Keward  and  Merit. 

God  manifested  again  the  glory  enjoyed 
by  St.  John  to  a  pious  virgin  at  Eoueu, 
in  France.  She  saw  him  equal  to  St. 
Aloysius  both  in  merit  and  reward.  She 
also  obtained  many  favors  through  his 
intercession. 

Blindness  Cured. 

Catherine  du  Eecati,  seventy-eight  years 
of  age,  completely  blind,  recovered  her 
sight  at  the  time  of  the  obsequies  of 
St.  John  Berchmans,  by  touching  her  eyes 
with  the  fingers  of  the  saint. 

Acute  Pains  Made  to  Cease. 

Arsilia  Altissimi  of  Tivoli,  a  lady  of 
great  perfection,  suffering  most  acutely  and 
enjoying  no  respite,  was  instantly  freed 
from  all  pain  by  applying  an  object  which 
had  been  placed  over  the  face  of  the 
deceased. 


Signs  of  Glory. 

A  noble  youth  of  fifteen  years,  a  student 
at  the  Eoman  College,  at  the  time  that  the 
obsequies  were  being  performed  and  the 
oflBce  was  being  recited,  beheld  two  dia- 
monds on  the  Saint's  forehead  and  a  halo 
of  most  vivid  light  around  his  head. 

A  Relic  of  the  Saint  Cures  Consumption. 

Father  John  Baptiste  de  Rushi  attacked 
by  a  continual  and  slow  fever,  which  caused 
him  to  be  declared  incurable  and  consump- 
tive, having  asked  and  kept  about  him  a 
relic  of  the  servant  of  God  got  rid  of  the 
fever,  regained  his  strength  and  rose  from 
his  bed  completely  restored  to  health. 

Diseases  Declared  Incurable,  Cured  by  the  Saint. 

A  young  scholastic  named  Julius  Eetta- 
bene,  after  long  and  complicated  maladies, 
accompanied  by  dangerous  and  fatal  symp- 
toms, was  given  up  by  the  physicians,  but 
having  recommended  himself  to  Berchmans, 
who  had  just  passed  to  a  better  life,  and 
keeping  near  him  a  relic  of  the  saintly 
youth,  was  freed  from  fever  and  pain, 
regained  his  strength  and  recovered  his 
health  perfectly. 


St.  John  Places  His  Hands  Over  the  Head  of  One 
Near  Death  and  Cures  Him. 

Brother  Loreozo  Mori,  of  the  Society  ot 
Jesus,  in  danger  of  death,  being  advised  to 
have  recourse  to  St.  John  Berchmans,  be- 
held our  saint  who,  looking  fixedly  at  him, 
said  with  a  smile:  ''  You  were  afraid  then, 
were  you?"  and  placing  his  hands  over  his 
head,  he  recommended  to  the  sick  man  the 
exact  observance  of  the  Eules,  and  disap- 
peared leaving  him  entirely  cured. 

Instantaneous  Cure  of  the  Gout  and  Liver  Complaint. 

Father  John  de  Angelis  of  the  College  of 
Sezze  had  suffered  for  many  years  from  the 
gout,  and  was  finally  attacked  by  a  violent 
obstruction  of  the  liver.  The  skill  of  phy- 
sicians availed  nothing.  He  therefore  re- 
commended himself  with  his  whole  heart 
to  St.  John  Berchmans  and  that  very 
instant  he  arose,  perfectly  cured. 

A  Person  Stricken  with  Apoplexy,  Speechless  and 
Paralyzed  is  Restored  to  Health. 

The  Blessed  John  having  been  during  his 
life  a  most  faithful  imitator  of  St.  Aloysius 
Gonzaga,  God  was  pleased  that  they  should 
frequently  concur  in  rendering  aid  to  their 


clients.  In  the  ''  Acta  Sanctorum ''  it  is 
related  in  detail  that  Joseph  Spiuelli,  a 
theological  student  of  the  College  of  Pa- 
lermo, remained  after  a  stroke  of  apoplexy 
perfectly  speechless  and  paralyzed.  His 
meutal  faculties  were  still  perfect.  He 
invoked  St.  Aloysius.  This  latter  in  com- 
pany with  St.  John  Berchmans  appeared 
to  him,  and  they  restored  him  to  perfect 
health. 

Flow  of  Blood  Declared  Incurable,  is  Cured  by 
St.  John. 

Mary  Berchmans,  an  aunt  of  our  Blessed 
youth,  had  been  afflicted  for  thirteen  or 
fourteen  years  with  a  violent  flux  of  blood. 
Physicians  of  the  greatest  reputation  de- 
clared her  case  to  be  hopeless.  She  invoked 
her  dear  nephew.  He  appeared  to  her 
saying ;  ''  Dear  aunt,  you  shall  be  freed 
from  your  infirmity."  She  immediately 
recovered,  and  in  the  presence  of  the 
parish  priest  of  Saint  Sulpice,  at  Diest, 
deposed  on  oath  to  the  truth  of  this  favor. 

Instantaneous  Cure  of  Violent  Fever. 

A  youth  named  Sixtus,  the  son  of  Mr. 
Vander  Laen,  was  brought  to  the  point  of 


10 

death  by  an  aftack  of  violent  fever,  but 
recovered  his  health  instantaneously  by 
lighting  two  caudles  before  the  picture  of 
John  and  reciting  some  prayers  in  his  honor. 

The  Saint  Heals  the  Dangerous  Illness  of  a  Devout 
Client. 

Eainer  Hautmans,  a  student  of  theology 
in  the  College  of  Louvain,  during  tbe 
Easter  vacation  of  1623,  fell  dangerously 
ill.  He  felt  springing  up  in  his  heart  a  firm 
confidence  of  obtaining  by  the  aid  of 
St.  John  a  speedy  cure,  even  so  as  not 
to  disturb  his  studies.  He  promised  the 
Saint  with  ardent  affection  to  be  singularly 
devout  to  him.  He  recovered  in  ah  instant, 
the  morning  of  the  day  on  which  the  classes 
were  resumed. 

Recovery  from  a  Tertian  Fever  that  was  Wasting 
Health  and  Strength. 

During  the  same  year,  Andrew  Van 
Boenegen,  after  having  promised  to  recite 
every  day  five  Our  Fathers  and  five  Hail 
Marys  before  the  picture  of  St.  John  re- 
covered from  a  tertian  fever  which  had  been 
gradually  wasting  his  strength. 


11 

The  Saint  Rescues  a  Client  out  of  the  Hands  of 
his  Enemies. 

Father  Anthony  de  Greef,  of  the  Society 
of  Jesus  and  a  missionary  in  Holland,  being 
recognized  as  such  by  a  heretic  soldier  was 
seized  and  about  to  be  led  before  one  of 
the  authorities.  The  Father  invoked  the 
aid  of  St.  John  Berchmans.  Oa  the  spot,  a 
youth  of  beautiful  aspect  who  in  features 
was  the  Saint  himself,  appearing,  with  a 
firm  voice  thus  addressed  the  soldier: 
^^Let  go  this  man,  for  he  is  a  good  citizen." 
The  assailant  obeyed  and  the  Saint  dis- 
appeared. 

St.  John  Protects  in  a  Wonderful  Manner  Two 
Persons  in  Very  Great  Danger. 

A  quantity  of  powder  having  accidentally 
ignited  in  the  house  of  Philip  Vlaeyen, 
greatly  damaged  the  whole  edifice.  Two 
servants,  together  with  a  picture  of  St. 
John  Berchmans,  although  in  the  midst  of 
the  scene  of  destruction,  escaped  injury  so 
wonderfully  that,  according  to  the  deposi- 
tion, attested  by  the  municipal  authorities 
of  the  town  of  Diest,  it  was  considered 
both  by  those  then  present,  and  by  others 
who  afterward  heard  the  facts  related  to  be 
a  miracle  operated  by  St.  John  Berchmans. 


12 

A  Constant  Fever  Cured. 

Sister  Mary  Perpetna  Euis,  confined  to 
her  bed  with  constant  fever,  and  grieved 
not  to  be  able  to  keep  Lent,  implored  the 
intercession  of  St.  John,  one  of  whose 
relics  she  had  in  her  possession.  She  gives 
the  result  as  follows:  '^The  following 
morning  at  the  time  the  fever  usaally 
seized  me  after  having  perspired  three 
hours,  I  arose  from  bed  and  found  myself 
in  perfect  health  and  without  fever. 

Violent  Convulsions  and  Contractions  of  the  Nerves 
Cured. 

Maria  Anna,  a  religions  of  the  Maestre 
Pie,  at  Rome,  was  for  some  years  the  victim 
of  most  violent  convulsions  and  contractions 
of  the  nerves,  to  such  a  degree  that  they 
became  insupportable.  Having  had  re- 
course to  St.  John  Berchmans  she  beheld  a 
youth  of  most  beautiful  countenance  who 
said  to  her:  ^'Well!  this  is  the  last  time 
that  you  shall  suffer  from  this  illness. 
The  grace  is  already  obtained.  Send  for 
Father  Senepa,  for  I  wish  him  to  be 
present."  The  Father  came;  the  relic  of 
the  blessed  youth  was  applied  and  Maria 
was  cured. 


13 

Sores  and  Ulcers  Healed. 

Oq  the  first  of  June,  1745,  three  daughters 
of  the  French  Consul  entered  as  pupils  the 
Ursuline  Consent  at  Rome.  The  second 
about  seven  years  old,  and  Theresa  by  name 
had  an  issue  on  one  of  her  arms,  with  ulcers 
on  both  ears,  which  constantly  emitted 
putrid  matter  and  an  insupportable  odor. 
The  lay-sister  under  whose  care  she  had 
been  placed  applied  to  St.  John  Berchmans 
and  obtained  her  cure  through  his  inter- 
cession. The  child  ever  afterward  enjoyed 
good  health. 

The  Servant  of  God  Cures  a  Violent  Fever. 

Muzio  Cittadini,  a  native  of  Sienna  and 
a  notary  by  protession,  while  at  Rome  in 
September,  1621,  being  attacked  by  a  most 
violent  fever,  attended  with  rather  dange- 
rous symptoms,  was  instantaneously  cured 
when  the  intercession  of  the  servant  of  God 
was  invoked. 

Contraction  of  the  Nerves  and  Spasms  Cured. 

In  October  of  the  same  year,  Magdalene 
Navarra,  a  young  Roman  lady  twenty-two 
years  of  age,  in  like  manner  was  cured  of 


u 

an  obstinate  contraction  of  the  nerves 
which  caused  her  the  most  frightful  spasms, 
and  for  which  various  remedies  had  been 
used  to  no  purpose. 

Cure  of  Dangerous  Fever  with  Other  Graces. 

Aloysius  Eiccardi,  Rector  of  the  Church 
of  Saint  Anthony  in  the  City  of  Corneto,  in 
his  evidence  attested  on  oath  that  by 
means  of  a  relic  of  Saint  John  Berchmans, 
he  was  cured  in  1613  of  an  extremely 
violent  attack  of  fever,  accompanied  with 
dangerous  symptons.  In  the  same  deposi- 
tion he  added  that  by  means  of  the  same 
relic  many  other  graces  were  obtained  from 
Almighty  God. 

A    rerson  Suffering  from  Erysipelas,  Fever,  Pains 
and  Flow  of  Blood  Restored  to  Health, 

The  wife  of  Octavius  Sabaudi,  residing 
at  Penna,  in  the  Diocese  of  Amelia  in  July, 
1622,  suflferiug  intensely  from  erysipelas  in 
the  face,  attended  with  fever  and  excessive 
pains,  besides  a  flow  of  blood  so  violent 
that  according  to  the  opinion  of  the  physi- 
cians she  was  on  the  point  of  death  was  by 
the  intercession  of  St.  John  Berchmans 
cured  of  her  infirmity,  and  she  arose  from 
her  bed  as  if  she  had  never  been  sick. 


15 

Violent  Headache  and  Cancer  Cured. 
By  the  mere  application  of  a  relic  of  the 
Blessed  youth,  Dorotea  Grisalli,  of  the 
District  of  Palo  and  Diocese  of  Pari,  in  the 
Neapolitan  Kingdom,  was  cured  of  a  most 
violent  headache,  which  during  fifteen  days 
had  almost  deprived  her  of  her  reason. 
She  was  in  like  manner  cured  of  a  dangerous 
cancer. 

A  Tumor  Cured. 

Lucretia  Pettorelli,  a  Roman  lady,  suf- 
fering severely  from  a  tumor  on  one  of 
her  knees,  had  herself  carried  to  the  tomb 
of  the  venerable  servant  of  God,  and 
having  offered  a  short  prayer,  arose  per- 
fectly cured. 

A  Cripple  Cured. 

Julia  Drosolini,  likewise  a  Eoman  who, 
by  a  contraction  of  the  nerves  had  become 
a  cripple,  promised  if  cured  to  present  a 
leg  of  silver  at  the  tomb  of  St.  John 
Berchmans.  Her  prayer  was  heard,  and 
she  fulfilled  her  vow  the  same  day. 

Hysterics,  Difficulty  of  Breathing,  Palpitation  of  the 
Heart  and  Sore  Throat,  all  cured  at  once. 

Lady  Angela  Filisboni,  the  wife  of  Sig- 
nora  Giulio  de  Giulii  a  Eoman,  toward  the 


16 

end  of  April,  1729,  being  violently  attacked 
by  hysterics,  saflfered  from  a  difficulty  of 
respiration,  palpitation  of  the  heart  and 
sore  throat  to  such  an  extent  that  she  was 
unable  for  eighteen  days  to  eat  any  food, 
instantly  recovered  strength  and  health  by 
the  intercession  of  Berchmans. 

Bursting  of  aa  Artery  and  Vomiting  of  Blood  Cured. 

A  youth  twenty -two  years  of  age,  Peter 
Spadoni,  a  pupil  of  the  College  Salviati  at 
Kooie,  having  burst  an  artery  in  his  breast 
vomited  blood  for  eight  days.  Having  been 
given  up  by  the  physicians  and  having  re- 
ceived the  last  Sacraments  it  was  suggested 
to  him  that  he  should  recommend  himself  to 
the  Blessed  John,  He  did  so  and  begged 
of  the  servant  of  God  that  he  would  obtain 
from  the  Almighty  the  health  which  the 
physicians  despaired  of  being  able  to  re- 
store. "•  Yes,  my  son.  replied  Berchmans 
who  appeared  to  him;  I  will  do  so  wil- 
lingly,"   The  sick  man  was  perfectly  cured. 

Through  the  Saint's  Intercession,  Several  Diseases 
Cease  at  Once. 

Sister  Catharine  Sacripante,  a  religious 
of  the   Monastery  of  St.  Bernard   having 


17 

suffered  several  years  from  a  severe  and 
painful  cough  accompanied  with  fever,  a 
pain  in  the  breast  and  a  complication  of 
diseases,  was  in  an  instant  cured  through 
the  Saint's  intercession. 

Weakness  and  Nausea  of  the  Stomach  Cured. 

Maria  Angela  Guingi,  a  professed  reli- 
gious in  the  Monastery  of  St.  John  of 
Lucca,  suffered  for  about  three  years  such 
weakness  and  nausea  of  the  stomach  that 
she  was  unable  to  retain  any  food.  She 
became  a  mere  skeleton  in  appearance, 
Turning  toward  a  picture  of  the  servant  of 
God,  she  said  :  '^  What  would  it  cost  thee 
O  Blessed  Father  to  restore  me  to  health, 
if  it  be  the  will  of  God  f  She  was  perfectly 
cured. 

Paralysis  Cured. 

Mary  Frances  di  Monteils,  suff'ering  from 
general  paralysis,  having  tried  in  vain 
many  remedies,  made  with  some  of  her 
friends  a  Novena  in  honor  of  St.  John 
Berchmans.  The  Novena  began  with  a 
general  Communion.  She  bound  herself  by 
vow  to  fast  on  the  Vigil  and  to  communicate 


18 

on  the  anniversary  of  his  Feast.  This  she 
promised  to  do  for  tea  years,  if  she  obtained 
the  favor  asked  for.  The  favor  was  granted 
on  the  first  day  of  the  Novena.  She  was 
restored  to  perfect  health. 

The  Saint  Heals  a  Serious  Illness  of  Three  Years, 

Standing. 

Sister  Maria  Ignazia  Mauri,  after  a  serious 
illness  of  three  years,  during  which  she  was 
often  favored  with  apparitions  of  St.  John 
Berchmans,  was  instantaneously  healed  on 
the  3rd  of  May,  1729. 

Miraculous  Care  of  a  Religious  at  the  Convent  of  the 

Sacred  Heart,  Grand  Coteau  (St.  Landry 

Parish),  Louisiana. 

Before  we  enter  upon  the  narrative  of 
the  cure,  it  will  be  well  to  give  an  outline 
of  the  other  singular  favors,  which  Our 
Lord  bestowed  on  that  privileged  soul,  Miss 
Mary  Wilson,  We  extract  them  from  the 
authentic  documents  produced  in  the  "  Pro- 
cess of  Canonization,''  and  written  by 
herself. 

Mary  Wilson  was  born  in  New  London, 
a  city  of  Western  Canada,  on  September 
26,  1846.     Her  parents  were  Presbyterians, 


19 


mucli  attached  to  and  respected  in  their 
sect,  and  belonged  to  the  Orange  party  in 
Canada.  Her  early  years  were  passed  in 
great  innocence  and  piety,  in  the  midst  of 
her  eleven  brothers  and  sisters,  of  whom 
she  was  the  next  to  youngest.  Her  greatest 
pleasure  was  to  enjoy  the  affection  of  her 
family  and  to  listen  to  the  pious  stories 
told  them  by  her  mother. 

There  was  with  them  a  lady  cousin,  who 
had  been  received  in  the  house  as  an  orphan, 
whom  she  liked  very  much.  In  1862  this 
lady  was  married,  and  obtained  permission 
from  her  parents  to  have  Mary,  then  about 
sixteen,  as  a  companion  on  her  wedding 
tour.  On  their  travel,  they  stopped  for 
some  time  at  St.  Louis,  Mo.,  where  Mary 
became  acquainted  with  a  certain  Catholic 
lady,  whose  conversation  on  religious  mat- 
ters interested  her  at  once.  One  day,  this 
lady  invited  her  to  come  with  her  to  the 
church  of  the  Society  of  Jesus,  whfere  the 
body  of  a  priest  lately  deceased  was  exposed 
just  then.  This  excited  her  curiosity,  and, 
for  the  first  time  in  her  life,  she  entered  a 
Catholic  church.     She    was    not    a    little 


20 


surprised  when  she  saw  a  great  many 
persons  approach  the  bier  and  touch  the 
mortal  remains  of  the  priest  with  great 
veneration ;  but,  when  her  companion  did 
so  in  her  turn,  she  followed  her  example, 
not  without  trembling  in  all  her  limbs. 

Her  companion  then  spoke  to  a  Father 
who  stood  by,  and  introduced  her  to  the 
Father  as  a  Protestant  friend  of  hers. 
After  this,  she  went  repeatedly  with  the 
same  companion  to  church,  where  she  was 
struck  with  admiration  at  the  grandeur  of 
the  Catholic  ceremonial  and  especially  at 
hearing,  for  the  first  time,  hymns  in  honor 
of  the  Blessed  Virgin  Mary.  That  august 
name  and  the  sweet  and  moving  worship  of 
the  Mother  of  God  made  a  deep  impression 
upon  her  mind,  and  aroused  in  her  a  desire 
to  belong  to  that  religion,  which  teaches 
her  children  to  salute  Mary  with  the  dear 
name  of  "Mother,'^  and  she  said  to  herself 
that  she  had  never  before  felt  such  deep 
satisfaction,  because,  of  course,  she  was  not 
a  Catholic. 

Meanwhile  her  cousin  was  to  leave  St. 
Louis  for  a  time  with  her  husband  to  visit 


21 


some  acquaintances  in  the  country.  This, 
at  first,  displeased  Mary,  because  she  would 
thus  be  unable  to  follow  her  inclination. 
She  consulted  her  Catholic  friend,  however, 
and  on  her  advice,  requested  her  cousin 
and,  not  without  difficulty,  at  last  obtained 
her  consent  to  remain  until  her  return. 
Their  absence,  against  their  intention,  lasted 
longer  than  the3^  had  surmised,  over  two 
weeks,  just  time  enough  to  make  Mary  a 
child  of  the  Catholic  Church. 

Yielding  to  the  powerful  attractions  she 
experienced,  she  often  visited  the  church 
and  especially  the  chapel,  in  which  a  beau- 
tiful statue,  or  painting,  of  Mary  was 
honored.  There  she  would  stop  and  fix 
her  eyes  devoutly  on  the  sacred  image. 
One  day  as  she  was  thus  absorbed,  her 
companion  whispered  to  her:  'Is  not  our 
Mother  beautiful?'  ^As  I  never  had  heard 
such  a  sweet  expression  before,'  she  writes; 
I  replied  instantly :  '  But  she  is  not  my 
Mother,  since  I  am  not  a  Catholic' 

^'  Brought  into  relation  with  the  Father 
mentioned  above,  to  be  instructed,  I  expe- 
rienced an  extreme  terror  to  treat  with  a 


22 

priest.  Tbey  had  told  me  such  horrible 
things  about  them.  But  I  was  received 
with  such  kindness,  with  such  paternal 
tenderness,  that  I  had  no  doubt  but  Mary 
was  already  interceding  for  me  ;  so  quickly 
had  all  fear  and  disquiet  disappeared  ! 
After  relating  a  few  particulars  concerning 
my  family,  I  stated  to  him  that  I  w  as  not 
baptized.  The  Father  gave  me  a  book  to 
read,  and  made  me  promise  to  return  to  him 
at  first  convenience.  I  went  three  times  a 
week  for  instruction,  and  after  a  fortnight 
asked  for  baptism,  which  was  administered 
to  me  without  objection  on  May  2d,  1862, 
first  Friday  of  the  month." 

'^I  consider  it  as  certain,  that  the  Blessed 
Virgin  loved  me  before  I  knew  her.  Sweet 
Mother,  how  I  love  her  now  !  I  could  not 
think  of  anything  else  but  Heaven  and  the 
Holy  Communion,  in  which  I  was  to  receive 
our  Blessed  Lord  on  the  next  Sunday.  My 
happiness  was  undescribable,  and  my  heart 
abounded  with  heavenly  joy.  Such  conso- 
lation was,  however,  but  too  soon  to  be 
followed  by  great  trials." 

"  I  had  written  before  to  my  parents, 
that  I  was  going  to  be  a  Catholic.     On  this 


23 


they  gave  me  no  answer;  probably  they 
thought  that  I  was  joking.  In  my  next 
letter,  I  informed  them  that  I  would  be 
baptized  a  Catholic  by  the  time  their 
answer  would  reach  me,  I  received  that 
answer  on  the  very  day  of  my  baptism.  It 
is  scarcely  credible,  what  reproaches  they 
made  me  in  this  letter  :  I  was  the  disgrace 
of  the  family ;  if  I  should  dare  take  that 
step,  they  would  disown  me;  that  I  must 
never  presume  to  enter  their  house  again  ; 
they  ^ould  never  permit  me  to  sleep  under 
their  roof,  etc.  This  was  a  hard  trial  for  a 
girl  of  sixteen!  What  to  do?  I  had  no 
mother  on  earth  any  more  who  could  guide 
me.'' 

^'  I  went  to  bed  that  night,  but  could  not 
sleep;  1  was  at  once  contented  and  sad;  I 
wept  and  called  for  my  mother,  it  seemed 
as  if  my  heart  would  break — when  I  heard 
a  voice,  saying  to  me  :  '  Weep  not ;  I  will 
be  thy  mother.'  I  thought  it  was  the  good 
lady  who  had  so  befriended  me,  and  had 
stood  my  godmother,  and  asked  her  about 
it.  She  answered  that  she  had  not  spoken 
to  me,  but  had  been  sleeping  and,  in  fact. 


24 

fell  asleep  again  at  once.  I  again  heard 
the  same  voice  :  '  Weep  not;  I  will  be  thy 
mother.'  1  turned  myself  and  saw  standing 
near  me,  by  my  feet,  a  noble  lady  in  white, 
who  disappeared  very  soon.  This  could 
not  be  any  one  else  but  the  Blessed  Virgin 
herself,  because  these  words  brought  me 
consolation  and  peace.  I  soon  fell  into  a 
profound  sleep  under  the  protection  of  my 
new  mother." 

Meanwhile,  Mary's  cousin  had  returned 
with  her  husband,  but  when  they  heard  of 
her  baptism  they  heaped  her  with  the 
bitterest  reproaches,  which  the  neophyte 
bore  with  invincible  constancy,  because — 
says  she — she  felt  her  spiritual  strength 
wonderfully  increased  by  the  two  other 
Sacraments,  the  Holy  Eucharist  and  Confir- 
mation, both  of  which  she  received  on 
Sunday,  May  4th. 

After  a  time,  the  cousin  quitted  St.  Louis 
and  Mary,  now  left  alone,  settled  with 
another  Catholic  lady  and,  for  four  years, 
sustained  a  terrible  combat  in  her  corre- 
spondence with  her  parents,  who  refused 
to  receive  her  at  home  and  had  nothing  to 
say  to  her  but  reproaches  and  insults. 


25 


At  last,  tired  by  all  this  persecution,  she 
wrote  to  them  that  she  was  a  Catholic  and 
intended  so  to  remain;  that  the  threats 
and  insults  were  useless,  because  she  pre- 
ferred to  die  rather  than  abandon  the 
religion  she  had  embraced;  that,  if  they 
were  unwilling  to  provide  for  her  livelihood, 
they  might  let  her  alone  and  stop  their 
correspondence.  God  would  provide  for 
her.  Yet,  lest  they  might  come  to  take  her 
away  by  force,  she  did  not  inform  them 
where  and  with  whom  she  resided.  She 
adds,  that  her  parents  having  embraced 
the  party  of  the  South  in  the  civil  war, 
they  were,  after  the  defeat  of  the  South, 
forced  away  from  their  home,  deprived  of 
their  property,  and  she  lost  all  trace  of 
them. 

She  concludes  her  relation  with  the  fol- 
lowing words :  '^  Since  the  day  of  my  bap- 
tism, God  has  ever  shown  Himself  full  of 
kindness  and  tenderness  towards  me;  He 
has  taken  me  by  the  hand;  He  has  guided 
me  in  His  own  ways;  He  Las  done  every- 
thing for  me.  After  God,  I  owe  my  hap- 
piness to  the  Blessed  Virgin:     I,   but  a 


26 

while  ago,  a  ProtestaDt ;  now,  a  Novice  of 
the  Sacred  Heart.'' 

It  was  on  a  visit,  which  she  made  to 
Chicago,  that  she  first  became  acquainted 
with  the  Institute  of  the  Sacred  Heart, 
which  she  determined  to  embrace,  and  into 
which  she  was  received  at  St.  Michael's, 
near  New  Orleans,  on  June  23,  1866. 

Wlien  on  her  voyage  from  St.  Louis  to 
New  Orleans  on  the  Mississippi  river,  she 
experienced  the  first  attacks  of  sickness. 
Let  us  hear  her  again  in  another  relation : 
^'  I  left  St.  Louis  on  June  18th,  to  enter  the 
Sacred  Heart  Institute  at  St.  Michael's, 
where  I  arrived  on  the  23d.  During  the 
last  days  of  my  journey  on  the  steamer,  I 
felt  indisposed.  When  I  reached  St.  Mi- 
chael's, I  was  seized  with  violent  pains  in 
my  side,  with  disgust  for  food  and  drink,  es- 
pecially water,  and  with  extreme  exhaustion 
of  strength.  The  physician  was  called  in  at 
once  and  he  administered  various  medicines, 
but  none  gave  me  relief — rather  the  con- 
trary. The  pains  of  the  side  continually 
increased.  I  began,  a  month  later,  spitting 
blood,  in  consequence  of  which  I  began  to 


27 

fear  that  they  would  Dot  receive  me  into  the 
Order.  The  physicians  pronounced  further 
medication  useless,  since  medicines  in- 
creased my  pains  instead  of  relieving  them. 
Still,  at  the  request  of  Mother  Shannon,  he 
consented  to  examine  me  a  third  time  and 
assured  her  that  he  did  not  understand 
anything  about  my  ailment.  The  lungs, 
he  thought,  were  perfectly  sound,  and  he 
could  not  conceive  whence  the  blood  came. 
There  was  certainly  no  cure  for  me  in  that 
climate,  and  he  could  not  do  anything  more 
for  me,'' 

''1  consequently  imagined  that  I  should 
be  sent  home;  but  God  in  His  goodness 
did  not  permit  it.  The  kind  Superior 
thought  fit  to  send  me  to  the  Kovitiate  of 
Grand  Coteau,  in  the  hope  that  change 
would  be  beneficial  to  me;  but  even  in  this 
God  disposed  otherwise.  I  entered  the 
Novitiate  September  20th^  and  it  was 
decided  that  I  should  receive  the  habit  on 
October  20th.  But  the  evening  before  my 
vesture,  the  malady  increased  to  such  a 
degree  that  I  lost  all  hope,  and  though  I 
made  an  effort  to  take  the  new  trial  with 


28 

all  possible  quiet ;  no  one  can  imagine  how 
much  T  sufifered.  If  the  good  mothers  had 
not  encouraged  me,  I  fear  the  grief  would 
have  killed  me.  Hence,  on  October  19th, 
I  entered  the  Infirmary,  which  I  was  not  to 
leave  again  till  the  15th  of  December,  when 
it  pleased  God  to  show  in  me  all  His 
power  and  mercy." 

'^  During  the  interval  of  two  months  I 
lay  in  bed  dangerously  ill;  I  vomited  blood 
two  or  three  times  every  day,  the  fever 
continued;  the  headache  was  most  excru- 
ciating and  the  pain  in  the  side  always  the 
same.  I  suffered  intensely  from  all  this, 
and  soon  there  was  an  uncontrollable  disgust 
for  every  kind  of  food." 

So  far  her  own  testimony;  but  to  form 
an  exact  idea  about  the  gravity-  of  her  con- 
dition, let  us  hear  the  depositions  of  the 
religious,  the  infirmarians,  the  physicians. 
Here  again,  as  previously  at  St.  Michael's, 
all  the  remedies  applied  by  one  physician 
and  by  another  later  on  rather  increased 
the  pains  than  relieved  them,  so  that  she 
grew  worse  every  day.  The  second  physi- 
cian, seeing  his  patient's  extreme  weakness. 


29 

thought  it  expedient  to  revive  her  strength 
and  react  against  the  evil  by  the  use  of 
stimulants.  The  patient  obeyed,  but  the 
effect  was  just  the  opposite.  On  November 
7th,  whilst  attempting  to  take  a  cup  of 
broth,  she  fell  into  spasms  and  became  de- 
lirious. The  paroxysm  lasted  nearly  twelve 
hours,  and  when  she  came  to,  she  was 
forced  to  confess  that  she  had  endured  a 
real  martyrdom,  just  as  though  the  whole 
frame  were  going  into  pieces,  and  every 
movement,  even  the  slightest,  caused  her 
unspeakable  pain. 

The  inflammation  of  the  stomach  gradu- 
ally rose  to  the  breast,  the  neck  and  the 
mouth.  The  tongue  grew  so  thick  that 
it  closed  the  oesophagus  and  made  her 
unable  to  swallow,  nay  the  very  saliva 
became  a  cause  of  intolerable  suff'ering.  To 
give  her  a  little  rest  in  the  midst  of  such 
pain,  she  was  placed  under  chloroform, 
spirits  of  camphor  was  injected  and  other 
like  remedies  were  administered,  but  whilst 
they  quieted  her  outwardly  to  a  certain 
extent,  unmistakable  signs  proved  that  the 
internal  suffering  did  not  cease. 


30 

Thus  the  malady  made  progress  from 
Lour  to  hour;  the  blood  which  she  vomited 
was  black  and  fetid,  the  saliva  ])uruleiit, 
the  skiu  of  the  neck  and  palate  broke  up 
and  formed  sores;  the  gums  were  inflamed 
and  rotten;  finally,  towards  the  end  of 
November  and  the  begiuniug  of  December, 
a  matter  mixture  of  blood  and  pus,  formed 
betw^een  her  teeth  so  fetid  that  it  could  be 
smelt  at  once  when  a  person  entered  the 
infirmary.  The  patient  lay  there  with  her 
eyes  closed,  the  breathing  embarrassed ; 
the  members  were  to  be  kept  warm  by 
the  means  of  sinapisms  and  frictions,  the 
application  of  which  caused  her  violent 
spasms  and  ht)rrible  convulsions.  Nothing 
more  was  expected,  than  that  the  malady, 
now  at  its  crisis,  would  soon  cut  off  the 
small  thread  of  life  which  remained. 

Now  what  was  the  nature  of  the  disease? 
An  exact  diagnosis,  made  both  in  America 
and  in  Rome  by  most  distinguished  physi- 
cians, pronounce  it  a  chronic  gastritis, 
complicated  by  an  ulcerous  acute  inflam- 
mation of  the  stomach.  What  prognostic 
could  be  made  reasonably  about  the  issue 


31 

of  her  raalady  ?  Considering  the  condition 
to  which  the  patient  was  reduced,  especially 
in  the  last  days,  the  continual  loss  of  blood, 
the  almost  complete  impossibility  of  taking 
nourishment,  and  in  consequence  of  anemia, 
delirium,  intense  pains  and  the  rest,  the 
prognostic  could  be  but  a  verdict  of  death, 
and,  indeed,  the  bloodless  lips,  the  closed 
eyes,  the  livid  and  cold  extremities,  the 
forehead  covered  with  an  ice-cold  sweat, 
sufficiently  convinced  the  beholder  that 
dissolution  could  not  be  far.  The  attending 
physician  himself  was  so  perfectly  convinced 
of  this  that  he  even  stopped  the  extraor- 
dinary visits,  because  he  knew  that  she 
was  to  breathe  her  last.  A.  servant  of  the 
house  declared  that  he  received  orders  from 
Mother  Moran  to  buy  ten  large  nails  that 
would  be  needed  to  close  the  coffin  in  which 
the  body  was  to  be  buried. 

In  the  whole  course  of  her  illness,  many 
prayers  were  offered  by  the  Mother  and 
novices  to  obtain  from  God  the  cure  of  the 
poor  patient.  They  were  addressed  now  to 
the  Sacred  Heart  of  Jesus,  now  to  Mary 
Immaculate,   now   to  one,  now  to  another 


32 


saint,  so  that  one  day,  when  there  was 
question  of  commencing  a  novena  in  honor 
of  Blessed  John  Berchmans,  Miss  Wilson 
jokingly  said:  Are  there  any  other  saints 
in  Heaven  to  whom  you  have  not  already 
prayed?  This  thought  of  recurring  to  the 
meditation  of  John  Berchmans,  beatified 
shortly  before,  originated  with  Mother 
Martinez  and  was  cheerfully  agreed  to  by 
all.  It  appears  that  a  first  novena  was 
made  in  his  honor  without  any  sensible 
change. 

As  the  malady  kept  on  increasing,  it  was 
resolved  on  December  6th  to  begin  another 
novena  with  greater  solemnity  and  in- 
creased confidence.  The  image  of  the 
Blessed  was  exposed  on  the  altar  of  the 
novitiate,  adorned  with  candles  and  flowers; 
another  smaller  image  was  given  to  the 
patient  herself,  and  with  it  she  was  repea- 
tedly blessed  and  touched  in  different  parts 
of  her  body. 

What  is,  however,  more  remarkable  is 
this,  that  all  agreed  to  pray  for  the  cure  of 
Miss  Wilson,  nothing  short  of  a  miracle,  as 
it  was,  that  it  might  serve  as  a  means  to 


33 


promote  the  canonization  of  Blessed  Berch- 
mans.  All  the  witnesses  agreed  on  this 
point,  and  this  intention  was  expressly 
announced  every  day,  when  the  prayers  of 
the  novena  were  said  in  the  chapel  of  the 
novitiate.  At  the  same  time,  Mother  Moran, 
when  reciting  the  same  prayers  near  the 
bed  of  the  dying  Sister,  took  special  care 
to  remind  her  each  time  of  that  special 
intention.  '-^  Deign,  O  Lord !''  she  said, 
^^  to  glorify  thy  servant  Berchmans  by 
granting  some  relief  to  our  suffering  Sister, 
and  if  her  entire  cure  be  to  the  glory  of  the 
Sacred  Heart  of  Jesus,  grant  it  to  our 
prayers  through  the  intercession  of  Blessed 
John,  so  that  the  cause  of  his  canonization 
be  hastened,"  and  the  narrative  adds,  that 
in  order  to  move  the  heart  of  that  devoted 
servant  of  Mary  through  his  love  for  the 
Immaculate  Conception,  they  promised  that, 
if  they  obtained  the  desired  favor,  they 
would  have  four  Masses  offered  up,  three 
in  honor  of  the  ever  Blessed  Trinity,  the 
fourth  in  honor  of  the  Immaculate  Con- 
ception. 


34 

The  last  day  of  the  novena,  Friday,  De- 
cember 14th  arrived.  About  6  o'clock  in 
the  morning  the  Superior,  Mother  Victoria 
Martinez,  visited  the  patient  in  the  Infir- 
mary. She  found  her  in  a  dying  condition, 
but  perfectly  conscious,  and  asked  her 
whether  she  wished,  if  i)ossible,  to  receiv^e 
Holy  Communion  once  more.  She  answered 
by  si<ins  that  she  was  anxious  to  receive 
Our  Lord,  but  feared  that  she  would  not 
be  able  to  swallow  the  Sacred  Host.  But 
behold  what  happened.  Here  are  her  own 
words ; 

^'  After  a  night  passed  in  extreme  pain, 
on  Sunday  morning,  a  Father  brought  me 
Holy  Communion,  which  he  gave  me  in 
the  form  of  viaticum  and  which,  in  fact, 
himself  and  all  others  thought  to  be  the 
last.  The  good  Father,  to  arouse  my  devo- 
tion, spoke  a  few  words,  and  amongst 
others  said  that  I  was  about  to  enter  on  my 
great  voyage  to  eternity.  As  there  was 
some  fear  that  I  might  not  be  able  to 
swallow,  he  gave  me  only  a  particle  and 
for  a  while  remained  standiug  before  me 
with  the  pix  in  his  hands,  w^aiting  until  I 


35 

should  swallow  the  Sacred  Host,  which, 
in  fact,  I  could  accomplish  ouly  after  taking 
some  water  and  with  intense  pain.  As  I 
could  not  speak  with  m}^  lips,  I  said  with 
my  heart :  ''  Lord,  Thou  kuowest  how  I 
suffer.  If  it  be  for  Thy  honor  and  ^lory 
and  the  good  of  my  soul,  I  beg  of  Thee, 
througli  the  intercession  of  Blessed  Berch- 
mans,  to  grant  me  some  relief  and  even 
health,  or,  if  not,  give  me  patience  to  suffer 
everything  to  the  last;  I  submit  myself 
entirely  to  Thy  Holy  Will.''  And  applying 
to  my  mouth  the  image  of  the  Blessed,  I 
said  to  him:  ''If  it  be  true  that  thou  canst 
work  miracles,  please  do  something  for  me, 
else  I  do  not  believe  in  thee.'' 

I  can  aflBrm  with  all  sincerity  and  without 
any  scruples  or  fear  of  offending  God,  that 
in  that  very  moment,  I  heard  a  voice  which 
told  me:  ''Open  your  mouth."  I  opened 
it  as  best  I  could  and  I  felt  as  if  some  one 
placed  his  finger  on  my  tongue,  and  I  felt 
relieved  at  once.  Whereupon  a  voice,  both 
clear  and  distinct,  said:  "Sister,  you  shall 
receive  the  habit  you  so  much  desire.  Be 
faithful;    have  confidence;    fear    not."    I 


36 


had  not,  as  yet,  opened  my  eyes,  nor  could 
I  distinguish  who  it  was  that  stood  near 
my  bed,  but  I  turned  myself,  and  said  with 
a  firm  voice :  ^'  But  I  am  well.  Mother 
Moran."  Then  I  saw  near  by  me  a  person 
standing  in  the  habit  of  a  Jesuit,  who  held 
a  silver  cup  in  his  hand  and  was  surrounded 
with  lights.  At  this  sight,  1  was  fright- 
ened. I  closed  my  eyes  again  and  said  : 
^'Touare,  perhaps.  Blessed  Berchmansf' 
and  he  answered:  ''Yes,  I  have  come 
according  to  the  will  of  God.  Thy  pains 
are  finished  ;  fear  nothing." 

''  I  then  opened  my  eyes,  but  he  had 
disappeared.  I  was  alone  all  that  time, 
because  the  infirmarians  had  followed  the 
Father  and  the  other  religious  to  the  chapel 
to  receive  Holy  Communion.  1  sat  up  on 
my  bed  and  felt  no  longer  any  pain.  Fear- 
ing, however,  that  I  might  delude  myself 
and  the  cure  might  not  be  true,  I  turned 
now  to  one  side,  now  to  the  other  without 
any  pain,  and  then  exclaimed;  'Blessed 
Berchmans  has  cured  me.' " 

Her  narration  is  confirmed  by  the  infir- 
marian,  Sister  Mathilde  Pratt,  who,  in  her 


37 

deposition  declares  that,  after  the  Commu- 
nion of  the  patient,  she  had  gone  to  the 
chapel  to  receive  Holy  Communion  herself, 
and  after  receiving  had  immediately  has- 
tened back  to  the  Infirmary  to  make  her 
thanksgiving^near  the  sick  bed, ^whilst  the 
assistant  iufirmarian,  Sister  Elizabeth  Las- 
sance,  had  remained  outside  in  the  corridor 
near  the  room^of  the  patient,''' so'  that  in 
fact  there  was  no  one  in  the  room  at  the 
time  the  miracle  occurred. 

"Three-quarters  of  an  hour  later,  after 
Mass  '^ — Miss  Wilson  continues — "'  Mother 
Superior  came  to  see  me;  but  what  was 
her  amazement  when  she  saw  my  eyes 
open,  which  had  been  closed  for  the  last 
six  days,  and  she  heard  me  ring  out  with 
full  voice:  '^Good  morning,  Mother.'^  She 
drew  back  for  a  moment  and  exclaimed : 
"What?  Those  eyes?  ThatmouthF  I  told 
her  that  I  was  well  and  requested  her 
permission  to  get  up.  She  embraced  and 
kissed  me,  and  asked  once  or  twice  the 
same  question,  and  I  always  answered  that 
I  was  well.  Then  she  called  in  the  remain- 
der of  the  community,'^ 


38 

It  is  easy  to  imagine  how  they  all  has- 
tened to  the  spot  to  see  the  dead  that  had 
arisen,  to  congratulate  her  and  to  ask  her 
a  thousand  questions.  All  noticed  her 
serene  eye,  the  frank  expressiofi  of  her 
face,  her  mouth  and  teeth  but  a  few  hours  ' 
since  so  disgusting  and  now  so  clean  and 
shining. 

About  nine  o'clock  the  physician  came ; 
he  examined  her  carefully  and  questioned 
her  whether  she  felt  in  any  part  of  her 
body  the  pains  she  had  experienced  before. 
Fully  satisfied  with  her  answer,  he  conclu- 
ded that,  if  Miss  Wilson  was  cured,  it  was 
due  neither  to  his  skill  nor  to  the  medicines 
administered  by  him,  but  there  must  be 
something  extraordinary. 

She  was  not,  however,  allowed  that  day 
to  get  up  except  for  awhile  to  make  her 
bed,  when  she  arose  with  the  greatest 
ease  not  feeling  any  inconvenience.  The 
next  day,  as  the  physician  came  up  the 
stairs,  Mary  met  him  quite  lively  and 
cheerful.  At  seeing  her,  he  felt  himself 
seized  with  such  an  indefinable  amazement, 
fear   and    incredulity,    that    his    strength 


39 

abandoned  Mm  and  he  exclaimed:  ^'  What? 
You  here:  dressed  and  on  your  feet?  Is 
this  possible?"  and  he  invited  her  to  sit 
down.  ^'You,  Doctor,"  she  said,  '^need  to 
sit,  not  I,  who  have  all  my  strength." 
Upon  this,  the  physician  examined  her 
again  minutely  and,  after  long  reflection, 
declared  her  truly  and  entirely  cured,  but 
at  the  same  time  confessed,  that  such  a 
cure  could  not  be  ascribed  to  any  human 
remedies,  but  was  due  to  God  alone.  So 
great  was  his  emotion  that  it  was  neces- 
sary to  give  him  a  glsss  of  strong  wine,  to 
enable  him  to  go  home.  He  afterwards 
confessed  to  his  wife  that  he  had  felt  his 
legs  failing  and,  if  he  had  not  sat  down  at 
once,  he  would  have  fallen  to  the  floor. 

Mary  Wilson  thus  concludes  her  narra- 
tive:  ''To  the  glory  of  Blessed  John- 
may  his  name  be  ever  blessed  ! — I  think  it 
my  duty  to  declare,  that  from  the  moment 
of  my  miraculous  cure,  I  never  felt  any  of 
my  past  annoyances.  I  am  now  able  to 
follow  all  the  exercises  of  the  Community, 
and  immediately,  without  transition  or 
convalescence,  could  take  any  kind  of 
nourishment.     With    the    feelings    of   an 


40 


humble  and  thankful  heart  towards  God, 
who  has  been  so  merciful  to  an  unworthy 
creature  like  myself,  £  protest  that  this 
very  deposition  is  made  for  no  other  pur- 
pose but  to  promote  the  glory  of  the  faithful 
servant  of  God,  John  Berchmans,  and  to 
excite  in  the  hearts  of  the  readers  an 
increase  of  faith,  of  charity,  of  confidence 
in  our  holy  religion,  inspired  by  God,  the 
holy  Catholic  Church,  the  pillar  and  foun- 
dation of  truth." 

It  is  true,  however,  that  but  eight  months 
after  her  miraculous  cure,  all  of  which  time 
she  had  passed  in  the  full  enjoyment  of  her 
physical  and  moral  power,  Mary  Wilson 
was  called  to  heaven  ;  but  the  disease, 
which  carried  her  off  in  a  few  days,  was  a 
congestive  cerebral  fever,  which  had  noth- 
ing to  do  with  the  former  gastritis,  of 
which  there  remained  not  the  slightest 
trace. 

To  show  how  great  was  the  goodness 
and  predilection  of  God  and  of  Blessed 
John  towards  that  privileged  soul,  some 
few  facts  must  be  added  which  happened 
in  the  interval  between  the  miracle  and 
her  death. 


41 


As  early  as  December  27, 1866,  the  Most 
Eev.  Archbishop  of  New  Orieans,  Mgr. 
Odin,  had  ordered  Mother  Martinez,  the 
superior  of  the  Ladies  of  the  Sacred  Heart, 
at  Grand  Coteau,  to  have  all  the  Mothers 
and  sisters  of  her  Convent  give  in  writing, 
separately  and  over  their  own  signatures, 
all  they  knew  about  the  illness  and  the  in- 
stantaneous cure  of  Mary  Wilson,  and  that 
these  depositions  should  be  handed  over  to 
Eev.  F.  Felix  Benausse,  S,  J.,  who  was  to 
examine  them  and  authenticate  the  signa- 
tures. 

Mary  Wilson,  too,  was  compelled  to  write 
her  deposition,  which  is  the  narrative  re- 
peatedly quoted  above.  She  did  this  with 
great  reluctance,  because  she  feared  either 
to  exaggerate  her  disease,  or  to  diminish 
the  greatness  of  the  miracle.  Blessed 
Berchmans,  however,  supported  her  in  the 
way  she  herself  relates  in  two  letters  to  her 
superior,  which  we  condense  into  one,  using, 
however,  her  own  words.  The  first  letter 
was  dated  February  2, 1867,  and  the  other 
a  few  days  later  without  date : 


42 

My  Worthy  and  Most  Kind  Mother — Last 
Sunday,  as  I  prepared  myself  to  receive  into 
my  heart  my  Lord  in  His  Holy  Sacrament, 
I  begged  of  Him  that  His  servant  might 
enlighten  me  about  two  particular  points 
which  gave  me  much  trouble.  One  was, 
that  I  wished  to  know  whether  he  was 
pleased  with  my  deposition,  because  I 
feared  I  had  said  more  than  was  necessary 
of  my  illness.  The  other,  whether  I  had 
understood  rightly  the  words:  You  will  take 
the  habit  you  desire.  The  Lord  has  heard 
my  prayer  and  favored  me  with  a  second 
apparation  of  our  Brother  Berchmans, 
which  certainly  I  should  not  have  dared  to 
ask  for.  On  that  Saturday,  January  27th, 
after  vespers,  I  left  the  infirmary  and  knelt 
(as  she  often  was  wont  to  do)  at  the  same 
spot  where  he  had  appeared  to  me  the  first 
time,  and  I  begged  of  him  with  all  the 
fervor  of  my  soul  that  he  might  assist  me  in 
my  demand.  He  appeared  to  me  at  the 
very  same  spot  where  I  had  seen  him  on 
December  14.  I  felt  my  breath  failing  me 
and  began  to  faint.  He  looked  at  me  kind- 
ly,  and,  with   a   smile,   said:     "Are    you 


43 

afraid,"  and  placed  his  hand  on  my  head. 
In  this  happy  moment  I  thought  myself  in 
paradise.  He  answered  my  first  demand, 
and  assured  me  that  my  deposition  was 
pleasing  to  him ;  after  this  he  exhorted  me 
to  a  rigorous  observance  of  my  Eule.  I  then 
asked  him  whether  I  was  to  live  long  or 
die  a  novice,  and  he  answered  me  that  I 
would  die  a  novice  and  go  to  receive  the 
reward  of  the  great  sacrifice  I  had  made.  I 
asked  him  further,  whether  I  was  to  die 
the  first  year,  and  he  answered:  ''Yes. 
Be  faithful,  I  shall  visit  you  again  and  tell 
when  it  will  be." 

Dear  Mother!  no  part  of  this  relation  is 

imaginary.    You  may  believe  or  not  believe 

it,  as  you  please.    But  all  I  have  written 

is  true.  Mary  Wilson, 

Novice  of  the  Sacred  Seart 

She  lived  in  the  enjoyment  of  good  health 
to  the  13th  of  August,  anniversary  of  the 
death  of  Blessed  Berchmans,  She  then  was 
seized  by  fever.  Next  day  she  received  the 
visit  of  Dr.  Campbell,  a  Protestant,  but  a 
straightforward  man  and  pious,  according 


44 

to  his  belief.  He  told  her:  "Tour  present 
illness  is  not  much,  you  are  not  going  to 
stay  abed  as  long  as  the  other  time."  Sis- 
ter Wilson  answered,  but  in  another  sense: 
"  Yes,  indeed,  my  disease  will  not  last 
long,"  and  pointing  to  the  picture  of  Blessed 
Berchmans,  she  added,  "here  is  my  physi- 
cian." 

In  the  afternoon  of  the  14th,  her  illness 
increased.  The  physician  w^as  called  in  all 
haste,  and  found  her  with  a  cerebral  conges- 
tion which  had  deprived  her  of  her  senses 
and  completely  disfigured  her  countenance. 
He  applied  the  most  energetic  remedies,  but 
without  effect,  so  that  she  received  extreme 
unction  on  the  same  evening.  In  this 
condition  she  remained  until  her  death, 
which  occurred  on  the  17th.  When  in  this 
interval,  the  Saint  appeared  to  her  for  the 
third  time,  according  to  his  promise,  it 
would  be  difficult  to  say.  Many  religious 
that  surrounded  her  deathbed  attest  that 
about  half  an  hour  before  she  breathed  her 
last,  she  on  a  sudden  opened  her  eyes, 
which  hitherto  had  been  firmly  closed,  and 
that  they  saw  them  bright  and  illumined, 


45 

turned  upwards  and  always  fixed  on  the 
same  point,  as  though  she  had  been  in  an 
ecstasy.  Perhaps  in  that  moment,  she 
beheld  the  figure  of  her  heavenly  benefactor 
who  had  come  to  take  that  privileged  soul 
and  lead  her  to  paradise. 

The  miracle  of  Grand  Ooteau  is  thus 
referred  to  in  the  Decree  of  the  Sacred 
Congregation  of  Eites,  November  1,  1887 : 

The  Holy  Father,  .  .  .  after  saying 
Mass,  called  to  his  throne  the  Most  Kev. 
Cardinal  Bianchi,  Prefect  of  the  Congre- 
gation of  Eites  and  Eelator  of  the  Cause, 
the  Eev.  F.  Augustin  Caprara,  Promoter 
of  the  Faith  and  the  Secretary  of  the  same 
Congregation,  declared  solemnly,  that  two 
miracles  were  proved  as  wrought  by  God 
at  the  intercession  of  Blessed  John  Berch- 
mans,  namely,  first,  the  instantaneous  and 
perfect  cure  of  the  Novice,  Mary  Wilson, 
in  the  Novitiate  of  the  Sacred  Heart,  in  the 
village  of  Grand  Cotean,  Archdiocese  of 
New  Orleans,  from  a  deadly  gastritis  com- 
plicated with  an  acute  inflammation,  to 
whom,  as  she  was  on  the  point  of  death. 
Blessed  John  appeared  and  suddenly  re- 
stored perfect  health 


46 

At  the  Canonization  of  the  Blessed  Berch- 
mans,  a  painting  of  the  miracle  was  sus- 
pended in  the  hall,  in  which  the  ceremony 
took  place  with  the  inscription  in  lapidary 
style,  composed  by  F.  Antonio  Angelini, 
S.  J. 

"  To  Mary  Wilson,  of  the  Society  of  the 
Sacred  Heart,  as  she  was  on  the  point  of 
death  in  consequence  of  a  gastritis,  which 
had  invaded  her  neck,  tongue  and  palate, 
John  Berchmans  appears  and  calls  her  from 
death  to  life." 

The  Bull  of  Canonization  (January  15th, 
1888)  relates  the  above  miraculous  cure  with 
its  principal  circumstances. 

Since  his  canonization  countless  favors 
have  been  obtained  by  his  intercession.  As 
many  as  450  favors  of  all  kinds  are  known 
to  have  been  granted  in  the  one  year,  1890, 
in  answer  to  novenas  made  before  the  mi- 
raculous picture  of  the  Saint,  that  escaped 
the  flames  in  the  burning  of  the  Holy  Fam- 
ily Convent  (17  Orleans  street,)  New  Or- 
leans, March  7, 1889. 


47 


A  NOVENA  IN  HONOE  OF  ST.  JOHN 
BERCHMANS. 

LET  US  PRAY. 

Oh  Holy  St.  Jobn  Berchmans,  who  even 
from  childhood  didst  show  extraordinary 
love  for  Jesus,  Mary  and  Joseph,  grant  us 
to  be  tenderly  devoted  to  these  three  au- 
gust persons,  and  like  thyself,  to  be  always 
generous  in  God's  services,  faithful  to  His 
Holy  Law  and  burning  with  zeal  for  His 
glory;  obtain  for  us  what  we  ask  in  this 
novena  (name  here  the  favor  you  desire), 
and  impart  to  us,  O  loving  Saint,  thy  spirit 
of  obedience  and  humility,  thy  great  hatred 
of  sin,  thy  angelical  modesty  and  purity, 
so  that  after  having  imitated  thee  on  earth, 
we  may  enjoy  with  thee  a  happy  eternity. 
Amen. 

One  Our  Father,  one  Hail  Mary,  one 
Glory  be  to  the  Father. 


48 


LITANY  m  HONOE  OF  SAINT  JOHN 
BEKCHMANS,  S.  J. 

[This  Litany  is  for  private  use  ooly.] 

Lord  have  mercy  on  us. 

Christ  have  mercy  on  us. 

Lord  have  mercy  on  us. 

Christ  graciously  hear  us, 

God,  the  Father  of  Heaven,  have  mercy  on 

us. 
God,  the  Son,  Eedeemer  of  the  world,  have 

mercy  on  us. 
God,  the  Holy  Ghost,  have  mercy  on  us. 
Holy  Trinity,  one  God,  have  mercy  on  us. 
Holy  Mary,  ") 

Holy  Mother  of  God, 
Holy  Virgin  of  virgins, 
St.   John   Berchmans,   chosen  son   of 

Mary. 
St.   John,   venerator  and  defender  ot 

the  Immaculate  Conception  of  Mary,  }  § 
St.  Jahn,  splendor  and  ornament  of  the 

Sodalities  of  Mary. 
St.   John,   faithful  lover   of  heavenly  i 

'things, 
St,  John,  constant  adorer  of  the  Most 

Holy  Trinity,  3 


49 


St.  John,  zealous  promoter  of  the  di-~) 
vine  honor, 

St.  John,  devout  worshiper  of  the  Sa- 
cred Heart  of  Jesus. 

St.  John,  devout  contemplator  of  the 
five  sacred  wounds  of  Jesus. 

St.  John,  true  son  of  St.  Ignatius. 

St.  John,  perfect  imitator  of  St.  Aloy- 
sius. 

St.  John,  steadfast  upholder  of  thy  holy 
vocation. 

St.  John,  true  model  of  humility. 

St.  John,  exemplar  of  religious  mod- 
esty. 

St.  John,  mirror  of  angelical  purity. 

St.  John,  strict  observer  of  holy  obe- 
dience. 

St.  John,  ardent  lover  of  holy  poverty. 

St.   John,  true  observer  of  the  least 
rule. 

St.   John,  enlightened  director  in  the 
choice  of  a  vocation. 

St.  John,  t)erfect  model  of  students. 

St.  John,  patron  and  model  of  servers 
at  the  altar. 

St.  John,  our  powerful  intercessor  at 
the  throne  of  God.  3 


60 

Lamb  of  God  who  takest  away  the  sins  of 

the  world. 
Spare  us,  O  Lord. 

Lamb  of  God  who  takest  away  the  sins  of 

the  world. 
Graciously  hear  us,  O  Lord. 
Lamb  of  God  who  takest  away  the  sins  of 

the  world. 
Have  mercy  on  us,  O  Lord. 
Christ  hear  us. 
Christ  graciously  hear  us. 
Lord  have  mercy  on  us. 

Our  Father. 

PEAYEK  OF  THE  CHURCH. 
Pray  for  us,  St.  John  Berchmaus. 
That  Ave  may  be  made  worthy  of  the  prom- 
ises of  Christ. 

Grant  thy  servants  we  beseech  Thee,  O 
Lord,  God,  to  imitate  those  examples  of 
innocence  and  fidelity  in  thy  service  by 
which  the  angelic  St.  John  consecrated  to 
thee  the  flower  of  his  youth,  through  Christ 
our  Lord.     Amen. 

One  Our  Father. 

One  Hail  Mary,  and 

Glory  be  to  the  Father,  and  to  the  Son, 
and  to  the  Holy  Ghost. 

As  it  was  in  the  beginning,  is  now,  and 
ever  shall  be,  world  without  end.    Amen, 


51 

OTHEE  PEAYERS  IN  HONOE  OF  ST. 
JOHN  BEECHMANS. 

LET  US  PRAY, 

O  Glorious  St.  John  BerchmaDS,  I  most 
earnestly  beseech  and  implore  thee,  through 
the  love  thou  didst  bear  to  the  Sacred 
Heart  of  Jesus,  deign  to  be  mindful  of  me, 
a  miserable  sinner,  before  the  throne  of 
God,  that  I  and  those  for  whom  I  offer  this 
prayer  (or  this  Novena),  may  through  thy 
merits  and  powerful  intercession  be  pre- 
served from  all  evil  of  soul  and  body,  may 
advance  in  all  virtue  and  good  works  and 
obtain  our  special  requests.     Amen. 

Our  Father,  Hail  Mary  and  Glory  be  to 
the  Father. 

LET  us  PRAY. 

O  most  devout  Saint!  model  of  fervent 
prayer !  I  beg  thee  by  thy  tender  devotion 
to  the  most  Holy  Mother  of  God,  and  to 
the  Angelic  St.  Aloysius  to  obtain  forjme 
the  grace  to  foster  and  to  increase  within 
myself  a  like  devotion,  that  honoring  the 
Blessed  Virgin  Mary  and  St.  Aloysius  here 
on  earth,  I  may  merit  hereafter  to  praise 
and  thank  them  forever  with  thee  in  Hea- 
ven.   I  also  earnestly  beg  of  thee  to  obtain 


62 


for  me  through  and  with  them  the  special 
grace  that  I  ask  in  this  Novena  (name  here 
the  favor  you  desire),  if  it  be  for  the  Glory 
of  God  and  the  good  of  my  soul. 

Our  Father,  Hail  Mary,  and  Glory  be  to 
the  Father. 


O  admirable  Saint!  mirror  of  modesty, 
of  purity,  of  regularity,  of  charity  and 
devotion!  I  choose  thee  this  day  as  my 
special  advocate  before  the  Throne  of  God. 


ACT   OE   CONSECRATION  TO   THE  BLESSED 

YIRaiN     MARY,     AYHICH     ST.     JOHN 

BERCHMANS  USED  TO  RECITE 

EYERY  DAY. 

''Holy  Mary,  Mother  of  God  and  Immac- 
ulate Virgin,  I  choose  thee  this  day  for  my 
Queen,  Patroness,  and  Advocate,  and  I 
firmly  purpose  and  resolve  never  to  abandon 
thee,  nor  say,  nor  do  anything  against  the 
honor  which  is  due  to  thee,  nor  suffer  those 
under  my  ^charge  to  say  or  do  anything 
against  thee.  Eeceive  me^  therefore,  I 
beseech  thee  as  thy  servant  forever,  assist 
me  in  my  actions  and  forsake  me  not  at  the 
hour  of  my  death."    Amen. 


'4-76 


i_i»n^^ri  I      vyr      v;v^iHv.arTL_^«^